MADELEINE McCann's parents have been asked to reach a “friendly settlement” in their legal row over a book, it has been reported.
The European Court Of Human Rights is said to have urged Kate and Gerry McCann to come to an agreement due to a backlog of cases.
The parents sued ex-detective Goncalo Amaral after he accused them in his book of covering up their missing daughter Madeleine’s Algarve death in 2007.
The pair, of Rothley, Leics, won their case, but later lost an appeal by him.
They are now suing Portugal, claiming that the decision was wrong.
A friend said of the ECHR plea: “It’s an extraordinary request.”
Mr Amaral led the investigation into Maddie's disappearance but later resigned after accusing British police officers of not fully cooperating with the Portuguese investigation.
He released his book, The Truth Of The Lie, three days after the case was closed in 2008.
The book alleges Maddie, who went missing while on holiday in Prai da Luz in 2007, died and Kate and Gerry McCann covered it up.
And Amaral later took part in a documentary for Portuguese television in which he claimed that Madeleine was dead, there had been no abduction and the McCanns had hidden her body.
In 2015, Goncalo Amaral was ordered to pay 500,000 euro (£429,000) in compensation to Kate and Gerry McCann by a Lisbon court over the claims.
They argued on the grounds the claim was not substantiated by the evidence and was defamatory.
But the decision was overturned following an appeal in 2016 and when the McCanns took the case to Portugal's Supreme Court, it ruled against them.
The McCanns were said to be "extremely disappointed" by the decision at the time.
And they went to the ECHR in a final effort to avoid paying Amaral £750,000 in compensation after accusing him of libel.
A source close to them said: “If Goncalo Amaral continues to make these outrageous claims then he will find he has a tough fight on his hands.
“Kate and Gerry are not going to let him get away with what he said about them.”
The libel case, which saw sales of Mr Amaral's book banned for six years, reportedly left the ex-detective close to financial ruin.
And he was previously thought to be planning a second book on the case, which he thought "would sell well in Britain."
But back in 2017, a family spokesman for the McCanns, Clarence Mitchell, warned: "If Mr Amaral's current book about Madeleine or any new one he may be planning to write is published here in the UK, Kate and Gerry's lawyers will take immediate action.
"He needs to know lawyers are watching."
Mr Mitchell added: "If he thinks his old or new book will appear here he'll have another think coming.
"If that's his intention whoever is responsible will be sued.
"Carter-Ruck will have no hesitation issuing a writ for defamation."
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